Sunday, May 08, 2005

Lots of people are downloading this draft. Please consider getting the book in which it was later published.

Batterbury, S.P.J  and J.L. Fernando. 2004. Amartya Sen. In P. Hubbard, R. Kitchin and G. Valentine  (eds.) Key thinkers on space and place. London: Sage. Pp251-257.

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Review essays on Key Thinkers on Space and Place were published in Environment and Planning A 2005, volume 37(1) January, pages 161 – 187 [Mark Boyle, Richard Peet, Claudio Minca, Michael Samers, Kirsten Simonsen, Mark Purcell, Elspeth Graham, Phil Hubbard, Rob Kitchin, Gill Valentine]. Those essays could be downloaded from the publisher’s website until recently – now they require a subscription (too expensive for most libraries, alas). Dick Peet pointed out that Sen hardly constitutes a key theorist on space and place issues – a fair point that I am sure he would accept!

Amartya Sen


Simon Batterbury and Jude L. Fernando


 Long version. final text differs and was published as Batterbury, S.P.J  and J.L. Fernando. 2004. Amartya Sen. In P. Hubbard, R. Kitchin and G. Valentine  (eds.) Key thinkers on space and place. London: Sage. Pp251-257



Simon Batterbury (PhD, Clark University) is lecturer in environmental studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He formerly taught geography at the University of Arizona (USA) and Brunel University (UK), and development studies at the London School of Economics (UK) and Roskilde University (Denmark). He has worked on political ecology, rural development, and environmental management in francophone West Africa since 1992, and edited five collections on environment and development issues.


Jude Fernando is a Sri Lankan political economist (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) and currently assistant professor of international development at Clark University, USA. His research interests include South Asian rural development, NGOs and microcredit schemes, and human rights. He is editor of four collections on development issues, most recently on microcredit (Routledge, 2005) and is completing a monograph on the political economy of NGOs (Pluto, 2006).



Biographical Details and Theoretical Context

Amartya Kumar Sen is an intellectual of global stature, highly influential in international public debate, and operating from the pinnacle of university life.  He was born in 1933, and grew up in Dhaka (then India, now Bangladesh) in a middle class academic family. He was born and later schooled at Santiniketan, in present-day West Bengal, at an unconventional institution founded by the towering Bengali literary figure, Tagore. He attended the elite Presidency College in Calcutta, graduating with a BA in economics while still a teenager (during which time he survived cancer), and moved to England in 1953 to read Economics at Trinity College, Cambridge University. Studying with Joan Robinson he wrote one of the early quantitative PhDs in development economics,  Choice of Techniques ( later published as Sen, 1960) in one year, returning to India to a Chair in Economics at the newly established Jadavpur University, Calcutta, well before Cambridge’s residency rules allowed the PhD to be officially awarded. Remarkably, therefore, has been a Professor since the age of 22.  After taking up prestigious fellowships in the USA and the UK, he became Professor of Economics at the University of Delhi from 1963 to 1971, at the LSE from 1971 to 1977, at Oxford from 1977 where he later became Drummond Professor, before leaving for Harvard in 1987 as Lamont Professor of economics and philosophy. He then served a spell as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1998-2003 (the first Asian to chair an Oxbridge College) before announcing his return to his job at Harvard in 2004. Among his many accolades, Sen was awarded the Senator Giovanni Agnelli International Prize in Ethics, the Bharat Ratna (the highest honor awarded by the president of India), and in 1998 The Nobel Prize in Economics. The Prize was widely perceived to be long overdue given his enormous influence outside the discipline. Its tardiness may be linked to the fact that Sen has "not been captured by economics imperialism and, unlike its practitioners, he opens and is open to debate across key issues” (Fine 2001:13) and while never forsaking his discipline, he has repeatedly criticized some of its core neoclassical assumptions.


Sen’s interests are diverse, and have required an intellectual engagement that has spread well beyond his early classical and neoclassical training. Over the years he has contributed to social choice theory (a technical field in economics), more generally to welfare economics, the understanding and measurement of poverty, explanations of famine and hunger, agrarian change and rural development issues, and he has conducted a wide engagement with ethics, moral philosophy and the meanings of ‘development’. His empirical investigations involve wide ranging international comparisons, but with a primary focus on South Asia. Perhaps the central theme that links his writings has been his passionate concern for addressing economic and social inequality, and explorations of the basis of human well-being.


In his early years Sen was preoccupied with welfare economics, and made contributions to the formalistic (mathematical) expression of social choices, alongside some work on Indian agriculture and peasant economies (Desai 2001, Corbridge 2002, Sen 1962).  His early technical work resulted in significant challenges to Kenneth Arrow's ‘impossibility theorem’, which is a proposition about the impossibility of making consistent collective judgments under certain common conditions. Essentially, Sen challenged the view that individuals make rational, utilitarian choices about their own welfare. In Rational Fools (1977), he dismisses the notion that the individual acted purely according to self-interest with regards to welfare or income decisions, for life would be nonsensical if they did so, and later said: “To try to make social welfare judgements without using any interpersonal comparisons of utilities, and without using any nonutility information, is not a fruitful enterprise” (Sen 1995: 8). How people make decisions is influenced by non-utility concerns like equity, class position, and family influence (Sen 1992, 2002). The technique of ‘revealed preferences’ does not distinguish what drove those decisions and choices. Interpersonal comparison of utility (the value of a commodity achieved in consumption) is vital because there are inequalities that result from self-interested maximisation, many of them undesirable. While these observations appear commonsensical to political economists, Sen’s points were challenging and controverisal to neoclassical utilitarianism. Social choice theory still figures in his work - he sums its central contribution thus:  "If there is a central question that can be seen as the motivating issue that inspires social choice theory, it is this: How can it be possible to arrive at cogent aggregative judgments about the society (for example, about 'social welfare,' or 'the public interest,' or 'aggregate poverty'), given the diversity of preferences, concerns, and predicaments of the different individuals within society?" (Sen 1998 no pages). Earlier, and anticipating some of his future research on democracy and ethics, Sen pointed out that the "ultimate guarantee for individual liberty may not rest on rules for social choice but on developing individual values that respect each other's personal choices" 1976).  


Since the 1960s Sen has moved from the development of formalistic models, to theorizing the ethical foundations of development itself. An important bridge-builder in his intellectual journey has been the concept of human “capability”. By the late 1980s Sen was defining capability asa set of functioning bundles representing the various alternative “beings and doings” that a person can achieve with his or her economic, social, and personal characteristics" (Drèze and Sen 1989: 18; Sen 1985). Capability is “tantamount to the freedom of a person to lead one kind of life rather than another" in an Aristotelian sense (Nussbaum and Sen 1993: 2). It follows, therefore, that the individual’s capability can be repressed – for example by denying a person access to basic services (including food, education, land, freedom of expression, or health care), or realized - through a person’s own agency, but also through supportive actions by other individuals and a range of institutions, including (very importantly for Sen) the ‘developmentalist’ state capable of public action. The core of development itself it is, therefore, the enjoyment of freedom – not just freedom of speech in a narrow sense, but freedom for individuals to realize their capability.


Sen’s major contribution to date on this issue, Development as Freedom (Sen 1999) is consistent with his earlier work on comparisons of individual preferences and values, but it goes much further in redefining human wellbeing to mean the enhancement of capabilities. He says “Development consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choices and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency” (Sen 1999 xii). He separates well-being into two components: well-being concerned with individual interests, and well-being concerned with the interests of others. There are three major roles for freedom: it is seen as having direct importance to people; it is also instrumental since it enables people to attain desired ends; and finally, freedom has a constitutive role necessary for dialogue on these desired ends and for making moral decisions (Gasper 2000). Since it is consistent with these three roles, democracy is viewed as the most preferred system of governance with the greatest capacity to expand basic freedoms. Achieving development, then, requires the expansion and improvement of capabilities and entitlements for the poor and underprivileged (education and health care figure prominently in Sen’s empirical work, notably in India).  In addition to expanding capability to achieve 'functionings', or 'beings and doings' constitutive of well being, Sen also argues for the importance of cultural values in this process (Sen 2004). The purpose of the expansion of capabilities ought to be the enhancement of freedom itself, because the purpose of development is ultimately, freedom. Development as Freedom places some weight on markets as an efficient (and presumably just) way to allocate resources in which free choice may be exercised, (a position many theorists in this volume would seriously challenge, allegedly including Sen himself in his earlier years – The Guardian 2001, Desai 2001).


At another stage on his intellectual journey Sen received acclaim his foundational work to improve the indicators used to measure poverty rates and human development (Sen 1997), which was instrumental in the development of the Human Development Index (HDI) and its expression in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report, which signalled something of an alternative to the neoliberalist “Washington consensus” on poverty measures. Sen showed that human development was high in a number of countries, even though their per capita incomes (the standard measure of growth used by the World Bank and other international agencies) were low.  Hence, he and subsequent researchers at the UNDP have argued that development priorities should be geared more towards improving human development  (capabilities) – assessed though wide-ranging multivariate indices - rather than growth-centered economic policy.  This effort was part of a move towards discussing other contributors to capability, including gender roles, fertility, and gendered mortality risk (Sen 1990). For example, Sen has argued strongly for the extension of freedom and independence to women and children in developing countries, which he says has demonstrable effects on wellbeing, poverty alleviation, and mortality. He regards the neglect of women’s nutrition and health (not least among poor African-Americans in the USA), and sex-selective abortion in developing countries as criminal (Sen 1999).


Despite these applications of his work, Sen has largely abstained from collective action or an activist role in the issues he has raised though his writings and the practices they have spawned (Corbridge 2002, The Guardian 2001), although he was involved in left-wing politics as a student (Sen 2001, no pages). He prides himself on never having worked directly for governments and is cautious about giving policy advice, but he has used funds from his Nobel prize to set up the Pratichi Trust, which is concerned with redressing illiteracy and lack of schooling in India and Bangladesh (problems explored in Drèze and Sen 1995).  In Indian affairs he labels himself somewhat left of centre, opposed to the present excesses of the ruling BJP’s Hindu nationalism and its role in nuclear proliferation, but remaining a strong supporter of gender equality, pluralism, and pro-poor policies. But has publicly distanced himself from some more radical positions on development, particularly in relation to Gandhi’s belief in local self-sufficiency and technological skepticism, and he sees an “ugly side” to many forms of localist, communitarian, and religious politics. This emerges from his support for ‘minimal universal’ human values and needs, and while remaining tolerant of difference he supports a sort of cultural ‘bricolage’ over localism (Corbridge 2002:185). Like Anthony Giddens, Sen is a qualified supporter of economic globalization for its potential to tackle poverty and inequality, even though it “doesn’t always work” (Sen 2001, no pages) and should not be reduced to the unfettered expansion of trade and markets. More democratic and egalitarian globalization is possible, for which strong civil society movements may be required, but “One's concern for equity and justice in the world must not carry one into the alien territory of unreasoned belief” (Sen 2001 no pages) as he says of the anti-globalization movement.  His approach to these and other issues always beautifully expressed, rational, and developed through rich and thoughtful analysis. It is important to re-state that equality and justice, and the rights of the poor not to suffer “unfreedoms” figure centrally in almost all his work (Sen 2001, no pages).


Geographical contributions


In his attempt to insert the theoretical space for a dialogue on equality into the rather introverted world of mainstream economics, and to be specific about the notions of equality and how to realize them, Sen has made some insights that have been debated and applied by geographers and related disciplines, particularly development studies. In the crudest sense, much of his work plays attention to geography, through inter-area and inter-state comparisons (e.g. Drèze and Sen 1995, and several subsequent volumes), and through specific reference to places and historical events. Yet Sen holds to a cosmopolitan view of territoriality, and thus in accordance in his belief in universal rights, he argues that culture transcends place rather than as Arturo Escobar argues, ‘residing in places’ (Sen 2004).


By far the greatest attention by geographers has been to his work on poverty and famine. Sen has identifies insidious, quotidian hunger as a major concern (Sen 1984), but his explanation of widespread famine seized the public interest. When Sen was a small boy he witnessed the direct effects of the1943-5 famine in India. The central argument of his most famous work, Poverty and Famines (Sen 1981, see also Devereux 1993, 2001), is that famine is not caused by a negative Malthusian relationship between population and food supply, but the inability of famine-prone individuals to access food in times of great need, even when food supplies are adequate. Although this is not phrased as a normative statement, the implication is that famine can be construed as a food demand problem, not a supply problem. Access to food is obtained when one has entitlement to it, and “Famine results where access to food is reduced because of processes denying or lessening entitlement to food” (Sen 1981, pp not known). ‘Endowments’ are the assets and resources that people may theoretically access - “Entitlements” are those that are available, and are therefore cognate with “acquisition power” (Cameron 2000). Survivors of serious famines have the power to acquire food - to grow it (production based entitlement), to buy it (trade based entitlements), by selling their labour for cash or food (own labour entitlement), by being given food by others (inheritance and transfer entitlement), or through access to what Sen terms ‘extended’ entitlements’ (Drèze and Sen 1989) -  including looting.


Poverty and Famines was Sen’s most influential work, and his famous ‘food entitlement decline’ (FED) explanation was further elaborated with the gifted economist Jean Drèze, in several volumes, using extended empirical cases (Drèze and Sen 1989, 1990/1991)[1]. India, as Sen noted, has not suffered a major famine since 1947 (although it has come close), largely due to its proactive stance on addressing demand side constraints through food distribution and work programmes, and because its leaders have been held to account through voting and a free press. The body of work on famine and hunger has been influential to the work of geographers and anthropologists including Piers Blaikie, Terry Cannon, Ian Davis, and Ben Wisner (Blaikie et al 1994), Neil Adger, Susanna Davies (1996), Robert Kates, Ken Hewitt, Hans Bohle (1993), and Michael Watts (1983, Watts and Bohle 1992). It has been taken up in famine relief management, causing agencies to focus more on food access as well as basic food relief. Sen’s theory has also aided the development of famine early warning systems used to alert agencies and governments to impending food stress by looking at price signals in markets.


A fascinating offshoot of entitlement theory is “environmental entitlements” developed by the Environment Group at the Institute for Development Studies, Sussex in the 1990s (Leach, Mearns and Scoones 1999). Here entitlements and endowments thinking is re-oriented to refer to natural resources, not food availability, with a specific focus on the role of institutions in mediating differentiated resource access and entitlements. This same group (along with earlier work by Robert Chambers, Gordon Conway and others) was also instrumental in developing new ways to perceive rural livelihood systems, unpacking the dynamic and flexible ways in which rural people manage their endowments and risks in ways that echo some of Sen’s core insights (Carney 1998, 1999, Mortimore and Adams 1999, Bebbington 1999). “Livelihoods thinking” has found a home in several international development agencies (see, and Williams and Windebank (2003) have now applied livelihood and capability analysis to alternative economic geographies and poverty in the UK.



Key advances and controversies


Sen’s work is particularly challenging to critical scholars, because much of it is highly original and it cuts across disciplines and schools of thought, making it difficult to isolate. Yet it is very widely read and adopted and thus impossible to ignore. Sen is in an ambiguous position in regard to his neoclassical roots in economics, being both master and critic of the discipline. The radical implications that may be drawn from his support for human emancipation, equality, justice and poverty alleviation have largely been taken up by others (including many PhD students worldwide) pushing his sometimes abstract ideas much further– Sen himself practices “cautious boldness” (Cameron 2000) – raising issues dear to the heart of his critics, but never quite severing them from a faith in more conventional development economics and public policy responses. Several of his key contributions have attracted widespread discussion, usually to call for extension of his analysis, rather than wholesale rejection of it (Fine 2001, Alkire 2002).


On famine and entitlements, Ben Fine (a former student) finds an "unresolved tension between micro-foundations of entitlement analytic and the broader recognition of famine as irreducibly macro, not least because famine is more than the sum of its individual parts…” (Fine 2001:8). Sen is aware of political-economic forces, pointing out that “famine is dependent upon 'the exercise of power and authority …alienation of the rulers from those who ruled . . . the social and political distance between the governors and the governed" (1999, p.170) but as Fine says, this does not go far enough – Sen’s understanding of power and structures is “superimposed, not built, upon the micro-foundations".  There is always a political economy to famine that can explain why people starve.


Development geographers have taken up the challenge of explaining famines, sometimes paying more attention to the combined socio-economic/natural hazard nexus. Blaikie et al (1994) develop heuristic models that make multilevel causation of famine, and processes of vulnerability, more explicit. Michael Watts, who provided one of the most detailed Marxist arguments for the colonial origins of famine (1983), is broadly sympathetic to Sen.  He argues that if poverty (and famine) is a result of ‘capability failure’ and a lack of entitlements, the prime response must be to overcome vulnerability and to address demand for food. But processes of oppression can lie at famine’s roots, the development of ‘critical autonomy’ and a strong ‘sense of society’ is needed to enhance freedoms (2000: 57). Following Marx, Watts suggests entitlements are “...both constituted and reproduced through conflict, negotiation and struggle” (2000:62). Entitlement failure, therefore, is embedded within a social and political process.


A powerful school of thought has emerged in famine studies develops this argument about social and political embeddedness. While not completely dismissive on Sen’s focus on individual entitlements and the importance of accountability and democracy, its proponents argue convincingly that that the perpetuation of armed conflict and violence in famine situations serves certain elite interests, as in the 1980s famine in Sudan and 1970s Ethiopia where famine was used as a political weapon (Keen 1994, de Waal 1989, Middleton and O’Keefe 1998). The creation of ‘complex emergencies’ produces beneficiaries, as well as many victims. Yet “war famines”, where ‘freedom to choose’ is clearly violated beyond repair, have no treatment in Sen’s entitlement approach. Other important criticisms, aside from challenges to Sen’s data,  include the fact that many famine deaths occur through ill health, not starvation (De Waal 1989), and that endowments – like communal livestock herds, or common property  – lack clear property rights and be the subject of overlapping claims, making them “fuzzy entitlements” that are analytically indistinct (Devereux 2001:253).


A related concern follows from this. Apart from developing abstract notions of capabilities and entitlements, Sen has said little over the years about opulence and the inequalities resulting from growth and from wealth, despite his deep interest in equality and ethics (Gasper and Cameron 2000: 986). There is little discussion on the relationship between the production of ‘opulence’ and the depravation of capabilities and entitlement (but see Sen 1987). He has of course questioned the ethics of unconcern about inequality and poverty in the modern age (Sen 2001). Nonetheless the classical view that production of prosperity for an increasingly tiny minority must surely relate to ‘unfreedoms’ and the denial of capability enhancement for the majority through the appropriation of surplus value is absent, and the case for radical redistribution of wealth (through the welfare state, Scandinavian-style, for example) is not present in Sen’s major works (Cameron 2000:1043).


Some critics of Sen ask for a much richer conception of ‘self’ that sees human agents as much more than beings seeking to attain capabilities. Giri argues Sen’s conceptualization of ‘self’ is too narrow in this regard (Giri 2000: 1018). Despite Sen’s emphasis on agency, there is little discussion on “striving for self-development on the part of the poor” (p1007). Unlike Anthony Giddens conception of the autotelic self (Giddens 1994), a ‘reflective dimension of self’, with values and worldviews and responsibility is not a full part of Sen’s analysis despite his call to insert value into welfare analysis (see above).


Lastly, there is a certain level of ambiguity in Sen's notion of ‘development as freedom’. Freedom is, more often than not, accompanied by its foreclosure. One may be able to secure a great deal of equal opportunity within a competitive economy, but equal opportunity neither guarantees equal access, or win-win situations for everyone. Sen is less than clear about tackling the conflicts that result from people’s pursuit of freedom: development seems to be about “more choice”, which must surely have limits (Gasper 2000: 999). But how exactly are freedoms achieved? By what political means? How may the poor challenge vested interests other than through votes? Does Sen support protest against the state in the name of freedom?  Critics see difficulties in Sen’s work here, and a failure to recognize the vitality of "concerted struggles against the powers of vested interests, at all spatial scales” (Corbridge 2002: 209). In defending plurality of freedoms under democracy in countries like India, Sen argues for the need for “positive tolerance” and the moral duty of the State to guarantee this. This leaves questions about how the state structures its cultural politics in ways conducive for positive tolerance, particularly with respect to past violations of freedoms and rights, and whether it as malleable and willing to deliver public goods, health and education as Sen would wish. Perhaps, then, it is the quality of governance, rather than an absolute adherence to textbook democracy, that matters more for development. Some of Sen’s own work on China (authoritarian, but good on redistribution, welfare and education) and the East Asian ‘developmental states’ might actually suggest this (Corbridge 2002:193). And the formal commitment to equality by a democratic regime does not, of course, automatically follow or imply a substantive commitment to it, as he is well aware. 


Several authors suspect that the reasons for certain absences in Sen’s work have to do with his philosophical choices and his continuing commitment to economic principles which he has extended and pushed, but never really overturned (Benicourt 2002, Cameron 2000, Fine 2001). Corbridge argues that “Sen's liberalism leaves him poorly equipped to deal with questions of entrenched power and the politics of conflict and social mobilization” (2002:203), and there is no real political economy of capitalism in his work, surprising given the political and ethically charged issues that he has addressed (Fine 2001: 12). This is not to suggest at all that he is unaware of such issues (Sen 2001, 2002).


Amartya Sen is a beacon of common sense in the interdisciplinary terrain he occupies (Corbridge 2002). Entitlements and capability stress human agency, not constraint, and they carry “some sense of worth and of real people’s lives” (Gasper 2000:996). His commitment to understanding and resolving inequality, and expanding basic freedoms, has placed utilitarians and many mainstream economists in an uncomfortable position. Social scientists in general should be enormously grateful that this important ambassador for humane economics (Desai 2001) can reach the ears of policymakers worldwide with his beguiling ideas, even if his theoretical and empirical work places far less attention on the injustice of the political economy that structures social action, than it does on promoting and nurturing social action itself.


Key Works:

Drèze J and Sen A.K. 1989. Hunger and Public Action.  Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Nussbaum M, and Sen A.K. 1993.  The Quality of Life.  Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Sen, A. K. 1970. Collective Choice and Social Welfare. San Francisco: Holden-Day.


Sen A.K 1981. Poverty and Famines: an essay on entitlements and deprivation Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Sen, A.K. 1985. Commodities and Capabilities. Amsterdam: North-Holland. (republished, Oxford, 1999)


Sen A.K. 1997 On Economic Inequality. An Expanded Edition with a Substantial Annexe by James Foster and Amartya Sen. Oxford: Clarendon Press.(Ist ed 1973)


Sen, A.K. 1999. Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.




Alkire, S. 2002. Valuing Freedoms. Sen’s Capability Approach and Poverty

Reduction, Oxford University Press.


Bebbington, A. J. 1999. Capitals and capabilities: a framework for analyzing peasant viability, rural livelihoods and poverty. World Development 27:  2021–44.


Bohle H-G (ed.) 1993. Worlds of Pain and Hunger: Geographical Perspectives on Disaster Vulnerability and Food Security. Saarbrucken/Fort Lauderdale, FL: Verlag Breitenbach Publishers.


Blaikie P., Cannon T., Davis I. & Wisner B. (ed.) 1994.  At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability and Disasters.  London: Routledge


Benicourt, E. 2002. Is Amartya Sen a Post-Autistic Economist?, Post-Autistic Economics Review, 15: article 4.


Cameron, J, and D. Gasper.2000. “Amartya Sen on inequality, human well-being, and Development as Freedom.” Journal of International Development 12(7).


Cameron J 2000 Amartya Sen on economic inequality: the need for an explicit critique of opulence. Journal of International Development 12(7) 1031-1045


Carney, D. 1998. Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: what contribution can we make? London: DfID.


Corbridge S.E 2002. Development as freedom: the spaces of Amaryta Sen. Progress in Development Studies 2: 183-217.


Davies, S. 1996. Adaptable Livelihoods. Basingstoke: MacMillan.


Desai. M. 2001. Amartya Sen’s contribution to development economics. Oxford Development Studies 29(3) 213-223.


Drèze J and Sen A.K.  1990 and 1991 The Political Economy of Hunger. 3 volumes. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Drèze J and Sen A.K. 1995 India: economic development and social opportunity. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Devereux, S. 1993. Theories of Famine. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.


Devereux, S. 2001. Sen’s entitlement approach: critiques and counter-critiques. Oxford Development Studies 29(3) 244-263.


Fine, B. 2001Amartya Sen: A Partial and Personal Appreciation. CDPR Discussion Paper 1601. Centre for Development and Policy Research.  SOAS


Giddens, A. 1994. Beyond Left and Right:  The Future of Radical Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press


Giri, A.K. 2000. Rethinking human well-being: adialogue with Amartya Sen. Journal of International Development 12: 1003-1018


Gasper, D. 2000 Development as Freedom: taking economics beyond commodities – the cautious boldness of Amartya Sen. Journal of International Development 12: 989-1001


The Guardian. 2001. Food for thought. The Guardian Profile: Amartya Sen. London: The Guardian Newspaper, March 31.


Middleton, N and O’Keefe, P. 1998. Disaster and Development: the politics of humanitarian aid. London: Pluto.


Keen, D. 1994. The benefits of famine. A political economy of famine and relief in southwestern Sudan, 1983-1989. Princeton University Press.


Leach, M, Mearns, R. and Scoones, I. 1999. Environmental entitlements: dynamics and institutions in community-based natural resource management.  World Development 27: 225-47.


Mortimore, M. and Adams, W.M. 1999. Working the Sahel. London: Routledge.


Sen, A.K.  1960. Choice of Techniques. Oxford: Blackwell. (3rd ed. 1968)


Sen, A.K. 1962. An aspect of Indian agriculture. Economic Weekly. Annual Number, p. 16.


Sen, A.K. 1976. Liberty, unanimity and rights. Economica 43


Sen, A.K. 1977. “Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioral Foundations of Economic Theory.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 6(4): 317-44.


Sen A.K.  1984. Resources, Values and Development. Oxford: Blackwell.


Sen, A.K. 1987. On Ethics and Economics. Oxford: Blackwell.


Sen, A.K. 1990. More than 100 million women are missing, New York Review of Books. 20 December, pp. 61–66.


Sen, A.K. 1992. Choice, Welfare and Measurement. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sen, A.K.  1995. Rationality and Social Choice. American Economic Review 85(1): 1-24.


Sen, A.K. 1998. Autobiography. Swedish Academy of Sciences Nobel Prize website. (published in Les Prix Nobel, 1999)


Sen, A.K. 2001 Interview with Sen by David Barsamian. Alternative Radio, Colorado.


Sen A.K. 2002. Rationality and Freedom. Cambridge, MA.  Harvard University Press


Sen, A.K. 2004. How Does Culture Matter? in  Culture and Public Action eds V.  Rao and Michael Walton.  Stanford University Press


de Waal, A. 1989. Famine That Kills: Darfur, Sudan, 1984–1985. Oxford, Clarendon Press.


Watts, M.J. 1983. Silent Violence: Food, Famine and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria. Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press.


Watts, M.J. and H. Bohle 1993 The space of vulnerability: the causal structure of hunger and famine. Progress in Human Geography 17 (1) 43-67.


Watts, M.J. 2000. Struggles over Geography: Violence, freedom and development at the millennium. Hettner Lectures No. 3. Heidelberg: Department of Geography, University of Heidelberg.


Williams C.C. and J. Windebank. 2003. Poverty and the Third Way. Routledge, London

[1] Drèze’s own background is important  he is a singular example of an academic economist who works on poverty, but who has embraced that condition voluntarily for much of his life, eschewing materiality.